Discover the colourful Easter traditions of the Greek islands

Published on April 8, 2017 in News

The deeply rooted traditions for the Easter celebration in Greece offer a rare chance to become acquainted with the spiritual atmosphere and sacred rituals that have survived for centuries.
Patmos, Corfu and Skiathos are some of the most exciting island destinations that allow visitors to participate in the celebrations and catch a glimpse of ancient old traditions, just before the tourist season begins.



Skiathos island is a well-known summer destination as it boasts stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. However, it becomes a different kind of destination during Easter, as locals observe the Monastery ritual of Mount Athos and live the Passion Week in deep contemplation. This means that the night service of Good Friday begins at dawn of Holy Saturday and the Epitaphs come out for their round at 4 am, strolling through the picturesque narrow and cobbled streets of the island. Overall, the sweet melancholy of the Passion Week blends with the spring blossoms, creating a truly unique sensory experience.

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Patmos is well known around the world as the island of the Apocalypse, making it therefore a truly unique destination for Christians during Easter. The magical experience begins on Palm Sunday, when creations made of palm leaves are shared to the worshippers in the churches of the island. Then, on Holy Thursday the Holy WashBowl takes place in the Chora of Patmos in the morning, according to the Byzantine traditions. During this ceremony, the Abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, symbolically sprinkes the feet of monks, as they represent Jesus’ students. It is a custom that dates back to the 4th century. The procession of the Epitaph and the sprinkling of the housewives with local rosewater in another ritual taking place on Good Friday, while in the afternoon of Easter Sunday, the whole island celebrates the resurrection in the square of the town of Skala, with an impressive show by young local dancers, dressed in the traditional costume of Patmos.

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The beauty of Corfu island lies in the variety of its natural landscapes, the exceptional beaches and the timeless beauty of its capital. During Easter however, its natural beauty comes together with the culture and tradition of the island, with the concerts of classical music, opera and church music dominating throughout the Passion Week.
In a custom that dates back to the 17th century, the procession of the holy body of Saint Spyridon takes place, on Palm Sunday, marking the start of the Easter celebrations. On Good Thursday, people experience the Crucification of Jesus at the churches, while on Good Friday, the many different philarmonic bands of the island march through the narrow streets of Corfu town, playing the “Adagio” by Albinoni, the “Marcia Funebre” by Verdi and the “Suentura”by Mariani.
Saturday marks the peak of Easter celebrations, as at 11 am the bells announce the “morning Resurrection” and locals throw ceramic pots off windows and balconies, creating a loud noise that according to the ancient Greeks, was an attempt to wake up Persephone, the goddess of spring and accelerate the coming of the season. At midnight, thousands of locals and visitors attend the church service of the Resurrection, which is followed by spectacular fireworks.

Click Here to discover the best villas in the island of Corfu.

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